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Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the basis is for the statement on the census form concerning the voluntary completion of the question concerning religion. [154669]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Census (Amendment) Act 2000, which came into force on 28 July 2000, by amending the schedule to the Census Act 1920, provides a power to include in census returns particulars in respect

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of religion. The Act also removes the liability to the penalty for anyone refusing or neglecting to state any such particulars. This has the effect of making any question on religion included in the census voluntary. A statement to that effect is included in the question on the form itself.

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the anticipated non-response rates in the forthcoming census are. [154670]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Richard Ottaway, dated 20 March 2001:

Departmental Policies (Lincoln)

Gillian Merron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Lincoln constituency, the effects on Lincoln of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [152973]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Lincoln, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and secure high and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the general election, claimant unemployment in the

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constituency has fallen by 1,858, or 48 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 86 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 82 per cent.

Macro-economic stability is being complemented at the micro-economic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare into work and to make work pay. To the end of December 2000, the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds had helped 1,319 young people in Lincoln constituency gain valuable skills and experience--668 (51 per cent.) of whom had moved into employment. The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is helping to make work pay for low and middle income families. In August 2000, 2,400 families in Lincoln constituency were benefiting from WFTC.

The Government are also committed to policies which enable pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. All pensioners, including 15,500 in Lincoln constituency, will receive an above-inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners will receive an extra £5 a week, and couples will receive an extra £8 a week. All pensioners aged 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000--including around 10,000 in Lincoln constituency.


Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a reply to his letter on behalf of his constituent Mr. Chilton forwarded to the right hon. Gentleman by the Minister of State, Department of Social Security in early January. [154725]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no record of this letter being received. If the right hon. Member would like to forward a copy to me it will be dealt with immediately.

Drug Addiction

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out his reasons for limiting his new aid for drug addiction to those who are no longer using drugs. [154082]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The measures were announced by the Chancellor in the Budget. £40 million will be invested over three years in additional resources to help benefit claimants whose drug problems may be getting in the way of their finding a job. The money will help skill up the Employment Service to spot and refer those on drugs into treatment programmes, and provide extra help in securing employment for those who have successfully completed treatment programmes and have come off drugs. The package is not limited to those who are no longer using drugs. Rather, proposals aim to ensure that in receiving help addicts undertake a responsibility to tackle their own addiction and become drug-free.

Euro (Forgery)

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he will take to assist banks, bureaux de change and similar agencies in the United Kingdom to detect the presence of forged euro notes and coins presented to them for valid transactions after 2 January 2002. [154063]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: ECOFIN reached political agreement on 12 February 2001 on a Council regulation designed to protect the euro from counterfeiting. As part of this, the UK is committed to ensuring that banks, bureaux de change and similar agencies will have access to appropriate information on security characteristics which are incorporated into the design of euro notes and coins so as to be able to detect counterfeits presented to them for valid transactions.

EU Accession Canvassing

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Article of which treaty, and which budget line of the authorised expenditure of the European Community for (a) 2001 and (b) 2002 authorise expenditure by a body or institution of the European Community for advocating to the citizens of a state applying to become a member that they should approve accession of their country to the European Union. [154011]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There is no treaty article or EC budget line which authorises expenditure for advocating to citizens of candidate states that they should approve accession of their country to the EU.

Post-war Credits

Ms Oona King: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims there were for post-war credits in each of the last 10 years; what the total value was of those claims in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. [154563]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of successful claims was as follows:


The total value of claims for each year is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. It is estimated that some 95 per cent. of the original credit has been repaid, following extensive publicity campaigns.

Taxation (Over-65s)

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from interested organisations on the level of taxation on the over-65s. [154702]

Dawn Primarolo: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer receives a number of representations on a wide range of subjects. By April, as a result of the Government's personal tax and benefit changes, pensioner households will be £600 a year better off on average compared to 1997.

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